A couple of weeks ago, I had a dream about fishing. Upon awakening, I was smiling and feeling good, unlike my usual early-morning feeling. I stayed in bed for a while, trying to recall what happened in that dream. I could remember fishing with friends, catching a big fish and having fun, but details were fuzzy.
That dream generated good feelings for several hours that day, and no wonder. After all, I had enjoyed all the feelings of having been on a great fishing trip, with none of the fear, pain, work, anxiety, expense, boredom, bad jokes or fattening snacks of a real fishing trip. I wanted more.
A couple of days ago, I heard on the radio that 23 years of the average man’s lifetime is spent sleeping. That got me to thinking about dreams again.
Dream scientists have found that our most memorable dreams occur during the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep, when brain activity is almost as high as when we’re awake. As I understand it, about 2 hours of a typical 8-hour sleep period is REM-stage sleep, about 6 years of our lives. It seems only fair that we ought to be able to spend at least part of those years dreaming good dreams about fishing.
The trouble with dreams is that they’re so unpredictable. In studies, the average person has 3 to 5 dreams per night, while some have up to 7. Some people dream for only a few seconds at a time, while others dream for 15 or 20 minutes. Some dreams are good, and some are bad. From my experience, the only way I can predict that I’ll dream at all is to eat Mexican food an hour or two before going to bed, and then the dreams are nightmares.
It’s high time that someone came up with something to make dreaming more predictable. The world would be a better place if everyone could have fun every night and wake up happy and refreshed every morning.
Lots of researchers are already well into this field, and cyberspace is fairly awash with Web sites that offer “help” of one kind or another to those with an interest in dreams. If you Google “dreams,” you’ll get more than 500 million results. Trouble is, much of what’s out there is about dream interpretation, just garbage.
One exception that shows promise is “dream diaries.” Studies have found that if you wake up while the dream is happening, and if you record in a diary what you remember at that moment, you can increase your level of recollection of the dream. The very process of writing apparently helps you to recall details that you wouldn’t otherwise remember.
This dream-recording deal gives me hope. I can see it now. In my dream diary, my “big fish” could turn out to be a 98-pound king salmon.
Les Palmer can be reached at email@example.com.